South Korea says Trump deserves 'big' credit for North Korea talks

South Korean President Moon Jae In credits US President Donald Trump for helping to spark the first inter-Korean talks in more than two years, and warns that Pyongyang would face stronger sanctions if provocations continued.

SEOUL (REUTERS) - A surprising approval for US President Donald Trump's hard line on North Korea is coming from the South.

President Moon Jae In said on Wednesday (Jan 10) Mr Trump's "fire and fury" threats against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might have done its job. "I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing the inter-Korea talks," he said.

The two Koreas held talks on Tuesday for the first time in more than two years, where the North agreed to hold military talks with the South and send a large delegation to the Winter Olympics next month.

Washington raised concerns the talks were a ploy to drive a wedge between itself and Seoul, but on Wednesday, Mr Moon said his government takes the same view as the US on how to respond to the North's threats and warned Pyongyang could face even tougher sanctions if provocations continue.

The North, for its part, made it clear in talks: Its weapons programme is not up for discussion, but any South Koreans worried about missiles can relax.

Chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland Ri Son Gwon said: "Regarding the nuclear issues, our strategic weapons including the atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, and intercontinental ballistic missiles are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren."

Still, Washington welcomed Tuesday's talks as a first step towards solving the nuclear crisis and the US State Department said it would even be interested in joining future talks.

There may be an opportunity for that.

More talks are slated for the two Koreas before the Pyeongchang Olympics next month.